I Have Never (First Comes Love Book 2)

By: Camilla Isley

A Lough Out Loud Romantic Comedy

First Comes Love

Book 2





Dedication


To charity volunteers, thank you.





One


Never Make a Scene


The day it all goes wrong starts as a more or less ordinary one. My fit watch startles me awake at dawn and, forty minutes later, notifies me I’ve run five miles through Central Park. A perfect six-minute-per-mile time.

Back at Gerard’s apartment, he’s still asleep. I peel off my sweaty clothes, take a quick shower, and wake Sleeping Boyfriend with a kiss and the aroma of French-pressed mocha.

“Morning, sleepy head,” I say affectionately.

“What time is it?” he asks, still groggy.

“Six-thirty, time to go.”

Gerard groans and shuffles out of bed. We eat breakfast in the kitchen listening to the morning news. Me wearing a towel, him in boxer shorts.

Fifteen minutes later, I brush crumbs off my lips and get up. “I’d better get going, big day ahead!”

“Oh, right. The announcement for the new junior editor is today.”

“Yes, this morning.”

“Nervous?”

“Positive,” I say, showing more confidence than I feel.

“Listen, babe,” Gerard says, jaw twitching. A sign he’s worried. “Why don’t we go out tonight to… mmm… celebrate?” He’s being awkward. Why is he so tense? “I want to talk to you about something important.”

Something important? Is Gerard finally going to propose? After three years together, it’s about time.

I smile slyly. “Sure, dinner out sounds amazing.”

P&P. Promotion and proposal all in one day. This is going to be the best day of my life.

“Now I really have to get ready for the office.” I kiss Gerard’s forehead. “Text me when you’ve made a reservation, yeah?”

He nods, and I waltz into his room to change. Many people hate their jobs, but I love mine. Well, not exactly the job I have—advertising—but the job I could have starting today. Junior Fashion Editor of Évoque Magazine, the top female media brand in the world. Marketing was just my way in—an editorial position has always been the end goal.

Unfortunately, almost everyone else working at Évoque shares this dream. But I still hope to beat the odds. Annabelle Visser, our Editor-in-Chief—yeah, the mean devil wearing Prada—more than hinted that sales numbers will have a weight in the decision. Since joining Évoque five years ago, I’ve worked like a slave to become the star of my department. So if not written in stone, my promotion has at least been stitched in silk.

On all fours, I retrieve my sleepover bag from under Gerard’s bed. One of my chief rules in relationships is don’t move in without a ring. So whenever I spend the night at Gerard’s house, I bring the essentials and leave nothing behind. This duffle bag is like an extra limb.

I shove my dirty running gear in a separate tote bag, then change into the working clothes I brought over: a black leather pencil skirt and emerald blouse that makes my green eyes pop. To intensify the effect, I shadow my eyelids to get that smoky look. At the office, exceptionally prim grooming comes with the territory and is expected of every employee.

Makeup done, I pull my natural strawberry red hair up in an intentionally messy bun, put on a bold shade of red lipstick, and wink at my image.

I’m the picture of a young, successful woman ready to conquer the fashion world.

From Gerard’s Park Avenue condo, I can walk to work. The weather’s perfect, and the late spring breeze only adds to my good mood. I wear foldable flats up to the edge of Central Park and then switch gears: plastic ballerinas for gel-cushioned pumps. I never show myself in public without heels. Not since that time when I went to Six Flags in my twenties wearing sneakers, and an attendant asked to check my height before he allowed me on a ride. For the record, I was a good six inches above the minimum.

In front of my office’s skyscraper, I pause for a second to admire the building. Working at Northwestern, the publishing powerhouse of Manhattan, always gives me a thrill of pride. This is the place everyone wants to be. The building itself screams luxury and power from every glass panel and metal joint.

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